Angels News: Logan O’Hoppe & Zach Neto Growing Into Clubhouse Leaders
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners
Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 season was a failure in many ways for the Los Angeles Angels. In the final season of Shohei Ohtani’s contract, the team won’t make the postseason and parted with a number of top prospects in a short-sighted attempt at late-season victories at the trade deadline. Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon — the two top earners — missed nearly the entire season.

The only positive came in the form of two rookies, Logan O’Hoppe and Zach Neto. The Opening Day catcher and shortstop made quick work of the Angels farm system to make highly anticipated debuts all the way back in the spring. O’Hoppe, in 37 games as of Sept. 14, has a .778 OPS. But he has provided a calming presence behind the plate, especially for young lefty Reid Detmers.

Injuries have also limited Neto to 70 games this season. But his .704 OPS, positive defensive metrics and a winning record in his starts (37-30) signal the type of player that could grow into something special.

The pair that began the year as the team’s top two prospects are already making waves in the clubhouse. Veteran Mike Moustakas, in particular, believes the two can grow into leaders in a Major League clubhouse, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:

“I haven’t spent as much time with these guys yet, but the older they get, the longer they’re in the big leagues, and the more they learn, the ability to do all that stuff just kind of comes naturally,” Moustakas said. “And I think they both have the opportunity to do that with the type of players that they are, and the type of type of people they are.”

Angels manager Phil Nevin sees that particularly with O’Hoppe. He even went as far as to say O’Hoppe is the type of player the Angels haven’t had in a long time.

“He’s that type of frontline leader that, if you want to say that’s been lacking here, it has,” Nevin said. “He’s somebody that can take over that role. Obviously, we have some veteran players that provide leadership as well, but if you look into the long term of it, I can see Logan being one of those guys.”

This is not a slight to Mike Trout, who has never been a vocal leader but rather a lead-by-example type player. But this type of praise shows the immediate impact O’Hoppe has had on the Angels.

In a dismal season, O’Hoppe and Neto serve as shining stars and a glimmer of hope for the future in Anaheim.

Angels getting learning experiences from close losses

Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners is the exact type of game that can help the Angels build toward the future. Against a postseason contender, the Angels started five rookies in the field and pitched two on the mound. Nevin hopes these games can serve as learning experiences for the young Halos in the final weeks of the season.

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